Bury Me, My Love

Pierre Corbinais and Florent Maurin, Bury Me, My Love
(English translation, Thomas Brasdefer)
co-produced by ARTE France, Figs and The Pixel Hunt
First released: 2017

Bury Me, My Love is an interactive fiction that operates on your mobile phone via a messaging app. Its title in Arabic is an expression that means ‘take care’ or, more literally, ‘I love you, and therefore I wish to die before you’. According to Lucie Soullier (2018), ‘Bury me, my love’ were the final words spoken to a young Syrian named Dana by her mother when she fled the country in 2015. Inspired by Dana, Maurin and Corbinais designed the smartphone fiction in order to explore the refugee journey through a mobile messaging service. The narrative is made up of the text messages exchanged between Nour—who flees the war in Syria—and her boyfriend Majd, who remains at home. Taking on the role of Majd, the reader/player is required to help Nour to make important decisions about her journey, and to offer support and advice (advice that Nour may well choose to ignore).

Throughout Bury Me, My Love, the smartphone is both a resource and a threat. Crucial to her journey, Nour also highlights the risks of unreliable access, misinformation and surveillance associated with mobile technologies. Depending on the play-through, Nour can visit up to forty locations in the app, and there are nineteen different endings, each of which consists of a voicemail message left for Majd, a number of which—but certainly not all—are harrowing. In the ending of one version, Nour is caught by the authorities as she attempts to board a ferry in Greece. In her final voicemail to Majd, she explains that she is detained in brutal conditions, and that she is not even permitted to keep her phone, which she has been concealing from the guards. The message ends with Nour’s screams as someone enters and wrestles the phone from her. Without the means to continue communication, the ‘game’ is over, and the reader/player is simply left hanging on the line.

The game was originally released on iOS and Android in 2017, and although it was later adapted for PC and other consoles such as Nintendo Switch, the original version enables you to play in ‘real time’, receiving notifications from Nour as her journey progresses.

by Sarah Jackson